Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Monday, September 26, 2005

Cancer ‘cures’ are empty promises in Kevin Trudeau’s ‘Natural Cures’ book

Cancer ‘cures’ are empty promises in Kevin Trudeau’s ‘Natural Cures’ book

The New York State Consumer Protection Board (“CPB”) is warning consumers that a fast-selling book by Kevin Trudeau does not contain the “natural cures” for cancer and other diseases that Trudeau is promising in a nationwide television ad campaign.

The CPB says Trudeau is not only misrepresenting the contents of his self-published book, he is also using false endorsements to encourage consumers to buy “Natural Cures They Don’t Want You to Know About.”

“This book is exploiting and misleading people who are searching for cures to serious illnesses,” said Teresa A. Santiago, Chairperson Teresa A. Santiago. “What they discover is page after page after page of pure speculation -- not the cures for cancer and other diseases that are promised.”

“From cover to cover, this book is a fraud. The front cover makes false promises about ‘natural cures’ that are in the book, while the back cover includes false endorsements, including one from a doctor who died three years before the book was even written,” Chairperson Santiago said.

These false endorsements extend to Trudeau’s television infomercials, Chairperson Santiago said, citing in particular the infomercial featuring the former Tammy Faye Bakker (now Messner). Tammy Faye appears in Trudeau’s infomercial because she is suffering from a reoccurrence of cancer.

The ad gives the false impression that Tammy Faye opposes chemotherapy in favor of the ‘natural cures’ in Trudeau’s book. A representative for Tammy Faye said that is not true and that she is starting chemotherapy again.

“We’re asking Mr. Trudeau to pull this ad – not only because of the misleading ‘endorsement’ by Tammy Faye, but also because Mr. Trudeau advertises so-called ‘cures’ that are not even mentioned in his book,” said Chairperson Santiago. In his infomercial with Tammy Faye, Trudeau cites only one specific cancer “cure” – a “serum” allegedly invented by a New York City zoologist in the 1960’s.

“As unbelievable as it seems, the key to stopping many cancers has been around for over 30 years,” Trudeau said before claiming this serum was banned by the government. Although he mentions this anecdote in his television ad, there is nothing about this in his book, Chairperson Santiago noted.

Trudeau also told Tammy Faye that his book contains a “technique” to quit smoking among other addictions. The book, he said, even includes the method Trudeau allegedly used to quit smoking. In the book, however, Trudeau writes: “If you want to know the exact method that I used to quit smoking, go to and become a private member.”

Consumers in New York (see last page) and across the country are complaining that the book is just another commercial for Trudeau’s website and monthly newsletters. Throughout the book, readers are told that the cures they are looking for, in many cases, are available if they spend more money and subscribe to Trudeau’s newsletter or his website. Both cost $71.40 per year or $499 for a “lifetime membership.”

“This is not a matter of ‘free speech’ as Mr. Trudeau claims: if you advertise the contents of a book, it had better contain what has been promised,” said Chairperson Santiago.

On the back jacket, Trudeau begins a list of endorsements with a quotation from Dr. Herbert Ley, a former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. But Ley never endorsed or even read Trudeau’s book because he died on July 22, 2001.

The book also has a quotation from Dr. My Haley, widow of “Roots” author, Alex Haley. Dr. Haley said her quotation (…”it would be hard these days to find a better read”) was not meant to be an endorsement of the book’s health claims. Instead, Dr. Haley said she was only suggesting that the book was “an exciting read.”

“The hypocrisy surrounding this book and its advertisements is galling because people with real illnesses are being misled,” said Chairperson Santiago. “This book and its marketing machine are a cynical attempt by Mr. Trudeau to cash in on his legal troubles with the federal government.”

“The hypocrisy surrounding this book and its advertisements is galling because people with real illnesses are being misled,” said Chairperson Santiago. “This book and its marketing machine are a cynical attempt by Mr. Trudeau to cash in on his legal troubles with the federal government.”

Last year, Trudeau agreed to pay $2 million and to stop marketing “coral calcium” as a cure for cancer to settle a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”). The FTC sued Trudeau largely on the grounds that Trudeau could not substantiate his advertising claim that coral calcium can cure and prevent cancer. It is one of at least 10 products that Trudeau has sold or promoted before the government has leveled fraud charges.

In addition, Trudeau pleaded guilty in 1990 to larceny in a Cambridge, Mass., state court after being charged with depositing $80,000 in worthless checks. The following year, he also pleaded guilty to credit-card fraud in federal district court in Boston, resulting in prison term of nearly two years. The federal charges involved the use of credit-card numbers from customers of a memory-improvement course Trudeau was promoting at that time.

“Trudeau cannot hide behind his frequent claims that this book simply contains his opinions and that the government is trying to censor him,” said Chairperson Santiago. “Throughout the book, Trudeau tries to fool readers into thinking he knows the cure for specific diseases when all Trudeau really offers are different theories on what causes an illness or a disease.”

Another example, she said, is Trudeau’s June 2005 newsletter which carries the headline: “The Natural Way to Cure Cancer.” In that newsletter, Trudeau wrote, “The cure for cancer is: simply stop doing the things that are causing the cancer!”

“It’s like the old joke where a patient complains to a doctor that it hurt to lift his arm and the doctor says, ‘Then don’t lift your arm,’” said Chairperson Santiago. “Trudeau even has the nerve to tell that joke in his book – not once, but three times.”

Among Trudeau’s recommendations and ‘opinions’ are:

* Breast milk has been poisoned by exhaust fumes from jets (p. 80)

* People should not use antiperspirant or deodorant (page 135);

* “All tap water is poisonous” (page 144)

* Microwave cooking poisons food --and causes cancer (page 145)

* Baby food is “poisonous;” (page 145); * “Vaccines are some of the most toxic things you can put into your body” (page 131. Despite that statement, Trudeau’s newsletter praises Jonas Salk and his vaccine for curing polio);

* Avoid hot tubs, saunas and swimming pools (page 155);

* Wear white (“The closer you get to white, the more positive energy you bring into your energetic field.” Page 167)

* Driving in traffic causes stress and stress causes cancer;

* Sunscreens cause cancer (page 152);

* Eat only organic food and “do not eat any food produced or sold by a publicly traded (page 142); and,

* Don’t take prescription or non-prescription drugs (This recommendation is cited throughout the book. Trudeau’s website, however, recommends that drugs be used to cure TB and Parkinson’s. In one commercial, Trudeau concedes that drugs and surgery are necessary when an illness is too advanced.)

“He pushes all of these ideas and dozens more; claiming some combination of ‘natural’ remedies will cure virtually any disease. It’s preposterous,” said Chairperson Santiago.

“When readers are expecting answers and details in his book, Mr. Trudeau either claims the government is censoring him or he ‘encourages’ his readers buy his newsletters or the books he sells on his website,” Chairperson Santiago said. “It’s an outrage.”

Near the end of his book, Trudeau concedes that readers might want to know why and how he can make these recommendations. He writes that his recommendations and opinions come from “more than 900 studies.” But, he writes, he’s not yet ready to say what those studies were, what they allegedly found, or where they took place.

In his television commercials and throughout his book, Trudeau claims he does not profit from the products and information in his book. Only near the end of the book does Trudeau concede that he does profit from the books sold on his website.

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